After reading Chirs Claremont and Frank Miller’s original Wolverine limited series, I was surprised to see Claremont’s name while sorting through my old collection. I vaguely remembering reading somewhere that Sovereign Seven was the first creator-owned series DC published, but never realized Chris Claremont was the writer behind it.
My love for Claremont’s work on Wolverine is well documented on CnC, but I have yet to read any of his extensive (1975-1991!?) Uncanny X-Men . Still, given his legendary work at Marvel, I find it curious I’ve heard so little about S7 over the years. How does a heavy-hitter like Claremont defect to DC without sending shockwaves of debate throughout the comic-nerd-world for decades to come?
My only hope was that Sovereign Seven #1 might give me a clue…
A quick, light-hearted read, the first issue of S7 didn’t pack nearly the punch I was hoping. It felt as much like the opening session of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign as the beginning of a comic series: Party of heroes transported to strange new place. Random encounter. Rest at the Inn. Random encounter followed by the arrival of a mysterious and powerful new character to drops the slightest hints of backstory. Break.
Even if Sovereign Seven #1 wasn’t the gripping first issue I was hoping for, it hooked me. It didn’t reel me in, but it did get me on the line. Whether or not I buy a collection of the 36+ (36 plus a few annuals and specials) issue run will depend on what happens when I revisit issues two and three. Like a good Dungeon Master, Claremont spun just enough story into the action to make you want to come back.
The other compelling thing about Sovereign Seven #1 is its self-conscious nod to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World stories. The opening page includes a prominent dedication to Jack Kirby:
Had I never been given the first three S7 comics, I still might not have known that Darkseid and the New Gods were Jack Kirby’s gift to DC after his own defection from Marvel. This discovery was particularly fun revisiting S7 after reading Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis and Batman run. However, there is a key difference between Claremont’s series and Kirby’s: Sovereign Seven has not been revisited in DC’s continuity. Even if it could, I’m not sure it would. Anything good enough to be immortal as Darkseid I expect to grab me right out of the gate. Sovereign Seven #1 doesn’t quite do that. It makes you curious in all the right ways and sets up an intriguing start to a story, but it isn’t gripping. It’s just good fun. That’s a damn great start, and I’ll definitely be finishing the issues of the franchise I already have in my collection: #’s 1-3, 9, and 12. Maybe it’ll be worth buying the trade paperback. If not, I can save the cash on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World omniubs. One way or another, Chris Claremont and Sovereign Seven have increased my knowledge of DC comics lore, and I can’t help but like anything that deepens my knowledge of comics.